- I will find a new face to wear. Someone else to dream me free.
- ―Barbara Jagger
Departure is the sixth episode of Alan Wake, and is the last episode prior to the DLC episodes. It explores Alan's journey back to Cauldron Lake.
Alan decides to go alone to Cauldron Lake to fight the Dark Presence once and for all. He makes his way through the devastated mountainous areas surrounding Bright Falls while the Darkness attacks him by sending the Taken while hurling large objects from the lake through the air. Alan fights through the dark forces and reaches the top of Cauldron Lake, only to face a giant black tornado that has sucked in boats, planes, and other vehicles. Alan fires several flares at the tornado and destroys it completely. Following Zane's manuscript, he jumps into the lake, only to wake up in a fake dream created by the dark presence. In the dream, he is confronted by an illusion of Alice in their apartment, imploring him to stay with her as he wanders through the house looking for the clicker. He shines his flashlight on a glowing word spelling "Clicker," grabs it, and escapes.
The writer then wakes up to find Zane in a diving suit in the water around him. Zane introduces him to Mr. Scratch, a mirror image of Wake to take Wake's place while he's in the cabin. Alan fights through the darkness surrounding him,shining light on various words to bring them to reality.( Coffee Thermos: Next to the word couch.) As he moves forward, The Dark Presence sends messages to him in both Jagger and Alice's voice. As he nears the cabin, he hears an echo of the past, Thomas Zane, having brought his love Jagger back through the power of the cabin, sees her heart filled with darkness, and physically cuts out her heart with a knife. Alan enters the cabin to find Jagger with a hole where her hearts was. He sticks the clicker in the hole and turns it on, destroying her. He then goes up stairs to finish the manuscript.
A narration from Alan concludes that the ending must have a balance, everything has to play out evenly. A cut-scene is shown where Alice resurrects from the lake 10 days later, shivering on the broken pier, calling Alan's name. Deerfest begins, several characters are shown cheering (Tor and Odin), and we are shown Rose, now appearing much as Weaver was, with a lantern, hunched over in front of the Oh Deer Diner, with Agent Nightingale standing in the window, appearing much like Jagger was in the previous episodes.
In the end, we see Alan once more in the Cabin, at the typewriter, his eyes seeming dead and unseeing, much like his first visit in the cabin after Alice's fall. We hear him say the last few words of the last page of the manuscript: "It's not a Lake; It's an Ocean." As the screen blacks out, we hear the voice of Alice saying "Alan... wake up". The episode ends with a period mark followed by "..."
- Ilkka Villi (model) and Matthew Perreta (voice) as Alan Wake
- Brett Madden as Alice Wake
- Fred Berman as Barry Wheeler
- Jessica Alexander as Sarah Breaker
- James McCaffrey as Thomas Zane
- Kate Weiman as Barbara Jagger
- Erik Bergman as Harry Garrett
- Sam Lake as Himself
- Poets of the Fall as Themselves
- Gianfranco Negroponte, Navid Khonsari and Andrew Totolos as The Taken
- Alan's last sentence in the last cutscene is rather reminiscent of Zane's poem/rhyme from the nightmare the game opens with.
This may allude to the Lake being the Dark Presence's home, as the poem may suggest, or Alan's writing of this sentence may be some unknown way of him allowing for his own escape. The latter possibility is further supported by the "..." that appears as the last thing we see before the episode ends, implying both that there will be more of the game, and also that Alan himself may have typed that, finishing the book in a way that would fix what had been destroyed, and bring Alice back to life without making her the Dark Presence's new host, while at the same time leaving himself an out for writing a sequel to Departure that would allow for his own escape from the cabin by an unknown method. However, this is all speculation, though the similarities between the two statements still should be noted.
- Mr Scratch is an old folk name for The Devil in the legends of New England and pre-civil war. Could this mean something?
- What happened to Alan?
- When Alan switched places with Alice, he turned back time, but did he also undo everything that happened in the two weeks?
- Who is Mr. Scratch?
- If Alan turned back time, why didn't Alice come out of the lake until after two weeks? He did not turn back time, he wrote another ending to the story he's been writing so that Alice could be saved. Alice was at the dark place during those two weeks.
- How can Alan save Alice? He had to turn back time, and switch places with her.